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Fernand Leger

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At the same time we would most like to run the film back and see how the sanctuaries close again and the lights go out and the great powers of nature are once again met with deserved reverence. One can fell an oak in twenty seconds; but in order to become what it now is, it grew for a century.. ..Progress is but a word without sense, and the cow, which keeps the world alive, will not move faster than three kilometres per hour in the future, either. (on the Circus, 1950)
Fernand Léger - The Later Years -, catalogue edited by Nicolas Serota, published by the Trustees of the Whitechapel Art gallery, London, Prestel Verlag, 1988, p. 15

Fernand Leger

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I know already that I will return to this day whenever I want to. I can bid it alive. Preserve it. There is a still point where the present, the now, winds around itself, and nothing is tangled. The river is not where it begins or ends, but right in the middle point, anchored by what has happened and what is to arrive. You can close your eyes and there will be a light snow falling in New York, and seconds later you are sunning upon a rock in Zacapa, and seconds later still you are surfing through the Bronx on the strength of your own desire. There is no way to find a word to fit around this feeling. Words resist it. Words give it a pattern it does not own. Words put it in time. They freeze what cannot be stopped. Try to describe the taste of a peach. Try to describe it.

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Film has dream, film has music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul. A little twitch in our optic nerve, a shock effect: twenty-four illuminated frames in a second, darkness in between, the optic nerve incapable of registering darkness. At the editing table, when I run the trip of film through, frame by frame, I still feel that dizzy sense of magic of my childhood: in the darkness of the wardrobe, I slowly wind one frame after another, see almost imperceptible changes, wind faster — a movement.

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